Ole’s Off Again, Leaving Me to My Own Devices

Marina Chahue
Huatulco, Mexico

A bit of a sad morning — I had to say goodbye to Ole as he’s off to work again.  This time might be a bit longer separation, as he’s been asked to take on a special project in the Miami office until September.  I know I’ll be fine here on my own:  the town is charming and has lots to offer, the weather is great, and the security can’t be better.  I certainly have projects to keep me busy, from varnishing the interior of the pilothouse to recovering the wall in the master head and stateroom, as well as writing projects I want to take on as an income supplement.

Before he left, we took a two and a half hour taxi trip to Salina Cruz to secure a ten-year Temporary Import Permit that will enable us to bring boat parts into Mexico without duty.  The marina office helped us with a bit of research to locate the right office, and pointed us in the direction of the bus station.  As he drove us toward the bus, Eduardo, our enterprising cab driver, urged us to consider letting him drive us all the way. When we added up and compared the costs of taxis at either end, bus fare, and time spent waiting to change buses, we were grateful for the hustle and enjoyed a relatively comfortable drive over good highways to the port city of Salina Cruz and the bank charged with the responsibility of issuing the permit.  Eduardo helped us interpret at the bank, and directed us to a great little seafood restaurant where we bought him lunch to thank him for his help.

The countryside is beautiful, though dry, with rugged mountains, dry riverbeds, and a unique system of traffic humps to control vehicular speed through the many tiny villages on the way.  At some of these mandatory transmission-eating speed bumps, gaggles of young girls ran toward the car, shoving bottled water, tamales, mangoes, and other road food through the windows, applying a more aggressive business model to the idea of a kid’s roadside lemonade stand– and we got to sample a typical local snack – young ears of corn, freshly steamed, bagged up with lemon and chili salt.  Part of the drive reminded us of the Pacific Coast Highway in California, as it wound around cliffsides giving us a different view of the Gulf of Tehuantepec several hundred meters below.

Saturday evening we dressed up (clean shirt, sundress!) and walked into town, stopping at a few places to get a feel for the town.  A margarita at one, a Coctel Iguana at another (a blend of mescal, mint, lime and club soda, served in a clay jar with a sculpted iguana circling the rim), and a sandwich at Hemmingway Cantina where we listened to live music for awhile.  I must say that mescal is a much earthier version of tequila, tasting of smoke and herbs, and blending nicely with mint.  But one is definitely enough!  We strolled the zócalo, enjoying the fact that it was lively, safe, and friendly, with no great street hustle as in more tourist-oriented Mexican cities like Acapulco or Mazatlan.  Toward the end of our walk, we found a great shop full of local products – chocolate, mole, chile, and mescal, complete with tasting bars.  The charming part about the shop was that it was full of locals enjoying a browse and a taste.

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